Protest songs are pesky things aren’t they? Believe me, I guarantee you this project caused me far more anxiety making it than it will you watching it. It was important for me to get it right. To get the tone right. It’s sad to think, but a reality I am well aware of, that this is a statement that is likely to lose me followers and reveal friends that are real from those that are just smiling politely. I’m not particularly fussed about the latter, however the end result needed to be something I could stand by. Nothing (Not Anymore) is my favourite song from the record. It is a song that I believe is necessary, a message that hopefully resonates with people that otherwise may never have been able to gain it’s point of view. I am incredibly proud of the work my fine film-making friend Brayden Boots Porter and I have put into this video. It’s not always an easy ask having your friends lend themselves to difficult subject matter, so I am ever grateful to be surrounded by so many like-minded mates.
Before I go on, it is important for me to note that I am not Aboriginal and I only speak for myself. I do not speak for First Nations people. Aboriginal people can do that for themselves. Aboriginal people HAVE been speaking for themsleves for more than 60,000 years. Most of us just choose not to listen. I’m present today as an ally. I am here to help get that seat at the table that is so very long overdue.
Nothing I have is without dispossession of Aboriginal land. It’s a tough concept to get our heads around isn’t it. It’s a complex discussion and certainly one that won’t be resolved with a little video clip. But the simple fact remains, all who live and prosper in Australia, who are not descendents of the First Nations, can attribute that wealth to stolen land. Land is the single most valuable commodity a human can have. When a person is deprived of that land, they are denied the opportunity to work it, grow it, trade it and to ultimately sell it. You can’t argue with this. It is fact.
Ok, so what do we do now? Like many, I was lucky enough to be in a position to work and save with my partner for our little two bedroom unit here in Newcastle. Should we just give that back? Without anything in return? Would you? Not likely.
I’m choosing to acknowledge my privilege and that that privilege does not necessarily extend to all Australians. Obviously there are varying degrees of privilege and sadly more often than not it’s the most privileged that choose to deny it. I didn’t do it. Why can’t they just get over it? It doesn’t affect me, I don’t care. Recognise the same old rhetoric? These are the throw away lines that government do little to discourage, and mainstream media flat out perpetuate. Australia loves a battler and from a distance dispossession sounds more like a word a whinger would use as an excuse. It’s not an excuse. It is real. It is very real and it’s effects are felt from generation to generation. It is multi layered and stolen land is only one. What about dispossession of culture? Dispossession of language? Dispossession of family? Dispossession of value or self-worth? If we can begin to get our heads around the concept of dispossession it’s not so hard to understand why we are are where we are. Until this country goes back and deals with it’s past, in all it’s ugly evil, it will linger. The wound will continue to fester and the divide will continue to push us further and further apart.
Imagine a country where we didn’t talk about closing the gap. Didn’t talk about Aboriginal deaths in custody. Didn’t talk about Indigenous literacy. What if we didn’t frame these problems as ‘indigenous issues?’ What if they were just plain old Australian issues? What if those in a position of privilege chose to use it to help those that are less privileged, not as leverage to gain more for themsleves?
It is now 30 years since Prime Minister Bob Hawke promised a treaty with our country’s Aboriginal people. 30 YEARS! Which one of our courageous leaders will have the guts to put it back on the table?